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Easy Disk Imaging

Posted on 2012-09-05
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Last Modified: 2012-09-10
Hi,
I have 20 new PCs arriving today with blank disks and rather than install the various software on each and every machine, I’m after the easiest way to simply install the necessary software on one and then clone to the remainder to save considerable time.
I don’t think I will need to do it again so really just a guide for a the easiest way to do for a one off job.
Many thanks,
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Question by:clogau_gold
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by:ThomasEcht
ThomasEcht earned 1000 total points
ID: 38367350
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by:Lee W, MVP
ID: 38367507
You need to buy those 20 PCs with Windows Pro pre-installed otherwise, you cannot do this.  Imagine rights are only granted with a Volume License (VL) and VL media.  And VLs for Windows clients are ONLY UPGRADE and cannot be installed on machines without pre-existing licenses and even then, the license must be for a business class OS.

If you're doing this with linux, then look for something that does Multicasts.  

And in the future, try to specify what operating system - you failed to mention it in the question and didn't pick an OS related zone.
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Scott C earned 1000 total points
ID: 38367785
I have used this guide and it works perfectly.   Make sure you install all updates before you build your image.  You will need 2 flash drives that are at least 8 Gig.  I have a standardized Windows 7 image with all updates, Office 2007, Acrobat Reader, WinZip, AVG, along with a few other installs and it all fits on one 8 Gig flash drive.

I would get flash drives that have a fast access speed so things go a bit quicker.

I can image a machine and have it up and running in about 20 min.

http://technet.microsoft.com/en-us/library/ee523217(v=ws.10).aspx

The one change I made in using this document was formatting the flash drive NTFS instead of FAT32.  This will allow the image file which will be larger than 2 Gig to be copied to the flash drive.  Once I figured this out...smooth as glass.
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by:Lee W, MVP
ID: 38368306
ScottCha - Assuming you're licensed to image - why would you do one machine at a time?  I can 10 machines without DVD or Flash drive in 20 minutes... probably could do 25 or 50 in the same amount of time with a good gig network and Server 2008 or later.
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by:Scott C
ID: 38368339
leew - Not everybody has that type of setup or the need for it.  The asker is looking for a one-time solution for 20 machines.  You're moving into a large corporate solution which is fine but not what the question is about.

You can use the information I provided to image the computers then go back and manually enter legitimate activation codes that have been purchased to keep everything legal.

In the building of the image the activation information is stripped out so that legitimate activation is necessary.
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by:Lee W, MVP
ID: 38368384
WDS is a role on Server 2008 and 2008 R2 (and 2012 and without Multicasting, 2003).  It's FREE to use.  If you're doing all the work to build the image, it would take LONGER to setup a flash drive or make an ISO than it is to add the role to Server and load the image there.  And what do you mean "one time" imaging?  Do you NEVER re-load systems after malicious software infections?

If you're going to be loading more than 2 systems, I don't see the point in NOT using WDS when it's built in to Windows.
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by:Scott C
ID: 38368425
We don't know if the asker is in a Windows Server environment.  They might not be able to use WDS.  I didn't want to make assumptions and answered the question with the information provided.

I did assume he was loading Windows 7 though.  :-)
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Author Comment

by:clogau_gold
ID: 38368443
Hi,
Just to clarify, yes I wish to load Windows 7, and the domain is  2008 R2 environment,
Thanks
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Expert Comment

by:Lee W, MVP
ID: 38368551
Then change your order because you need those machines to come with Windows 7 in order to do this.  Or you need to order 20 copies or Windows 7 retail which is far more expensive.

Then you need at least one license of Windows 7 Pro from the Volume License Program.  the ONLY way you can "install the necessary software on one and then clone to the remainder to save considerable time" is by building your image with a Volume License copy of Windows 7 Pro.  There is no other legal way of doing it regardless of what software you use.  You want to save time.  Microsoft understands this.  They want a cut.  You may not like it (I don't like it) but that doesn't mean you or anyone else reading this should steal the right to do it.  (not saying you are - but it's a complaint and tendency people have and others could reference this question in the future so it needs to be said in my opinion).

Actually there is ONE other way to do it, but it seems too late for you - you COULD have ordered one machine with Windows, installed and customized it, then sent it back to the vendor and THEY could have cloned it for you.
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by:Scott C
ID: 38368971
As the machines are arriving today or by now they may have alreay arrived, you should look into the volume licensing suggestion.  If that won't work, then you'll have to purchase 20 individual Windows 7 Professional/Ultimate retail.
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by:Lee W, MVP
ID: 38369295
Again, volume licenses are required to create and deploy the image, but the image can only be deployed to systems running Windows 7 Pro OEM (assuming the VL image is Pro).  Volume Licenses for Windows Client Operating Systems are UPGRADE ONLY and without an existing OS, they are not valid.
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Author Comment

by:clogau_gold
ID: 38371228
Sorry to keep adding further notes, but I do have the VL version of Windows 7 under the companies Microsoft Partner program.
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by:Lee W, MVP
ID: 38373023
That's great - so you have the right to image... But you still need 20 OEM licenses (one for each system) before you can install a VL based image.
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Expert Comment

by:lauchangkwang
ID: 38378794
For me, normally I will use Acronis Software to create an image, then use that image deploy / push down to all others :

http://download.cnet.com/True-Image-2013-by-Acronis/3000-2242_4-10168093.html

You may have a try, cheers ~~~
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by:Lee W, MVP
ID: 38378802
Why would you use Acronis when Microsoft provides extensive FREE tools for imaging?
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by:lauchangkwang
ID: 38378883
The question of the user is trying to know "ANY" ways that could help out, when the time you know more ways, that would improve the knowledge and let you know more for future with wider minded. Plus, this is a forum to let everyone to learn new things, get more opinions from brainstorming, not just to stick with only one, with only one, you will not stand outside the box and think wider and verse wise you are limiting yourself inside the box.

Sorry to be honest leew, you seems like keep finger pointing on others to show that you are right. Yes, you are right on your point of view, but others might have their different point of view, that is why the word "netiquette" occur in the dictionary in order to respect each other over the internet.
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by:Lee W, MVP
ID: 38378909
I'm sorry you feel that soliciting your logic is me pointing fingers and saying your wrong.  I want to know why you feel the way you.  PERHAPS you'll change my own thinking on the subject or different perspective for me to see things from.

MY perspective is that Acronis is fine as a backup tool... but for imaging for deployment it's antiquated and unnecessarily expensive.  If you feel differently fine.  Convince me.  And not just me - keep in mind that other people will read these questions and comments and providing them with a broad range and OPINION on why x, y, or z is appropriate or not appropriate will not only help the asker of this question, but potentially others who may be interested in similar topics and have similar concerns.
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by:Scott C
ID: 38379299
Ok ladies...take it outside.
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